Colorado Avalanche Sign Evan Rodrigues to 1-Year Contract

Going into free agency, Evan Rodrigues earned himself a pay increase following his breakout 2021-22 season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two months into free agency, the forward had yet to find a new home, until Monday morning. Rodrigues agreed to a one-year contract to join the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

Rodrigues’ deal is a $2 million contract, which doubles what he made last season after he signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Penguins in the summer of 2021. He was a valuable piece of the Pittsburgh forward core, finding himself up and down in the lineup for coach Mike Sullivan, before settling in on the second-line.

What the Avalanche Are Getting

The 5-foot-11, 184-pound 29-year-old Rodrigues had a breakout campaign last season, albeit in an up and down one, but regardless, he found himself in the Penguins’ top-six during the 2021-22 season. He had career-highs with 19 goals, 24 assists, 43 points, power play goals (seven), and shots on net (243) in 82 regular season games. Not a bad bargain at the time for a player that was signed on a one-year and deal last summer. He had three goals and two assists in the Penguins’ first-round loss to the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Evan Rodrigues Pittsburgh Penguins
Evan Rodrigues, shown with the Pittsburgh Penguins, signed with the Avalanche Monday. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In his career, the former Boston University standout has career totals of 53 goals and 76 assists between the Buffalo Sabres and Penguins in 316 games. He was signed by the Sabres to an undrafted free agent deal in 2015 after he compiled 121 points in 146 games for the Terriers in 2015. 

Avalanche Continues to Add Very Good Depth Pieces

The defending Stanley Cup champions are getting a solid two-way veteran that can play both wing and center and provide coach Jared Bednar with a depth player that can play in all situations. Colorado lost Nazem Kadri in free agency to the Calgary Flames this summer, but they signed Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year contract extension and former Boston Bruin Anton Blidh to a free agent deal for bottom-six depth. They also brought back Darren Helm on a one-year contract extension and defensemen Josh Manson, acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the 2022 trade deadline, on a four-year contract.

Related: Avalanche’s Jared Bednar Paves Own Path to NHL Success

Colorado also added Alexandar Georgiev in net with a trade with the Rangers as Stanley Cup-winning goalie Darcy Kuemper signed as a free agent with the Washington Capitals. First-year general manager (GM) Chris MacFarland is adding pieces around his Cup-winning core as they look to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Rodrigues was one of the best remaining players on the market from the 2022 free agent class and he makes the Avalanche an even deeper team offensively and he could comes close to repeating his success last season with Pittsburgh on an even better team in the Central Division.

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